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Many visitors at busy Statehouse

In anticipation of the approaching deadlines, legislative committees have remained busy holding hearings and voting on legislation for deliberation by the full House. Accordingly, the House debated and took final votes on several bills.

While these bills do not reflect major policy initiatives, such as tax reform or the budget, they are important, because I am here to represent you and to work on your behalf to make our state better.

I want to thank the following folks who came to my office or I was able to visit at meet and greets. The visitors to Topeka included Julie Keeton of the Kiowa County Pharmacy in Greensburg; Dale Rude and Jason Norquest from Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District 3; Orin Feril, GMD 5 and board members; Ford County Treasurer Debra Pennington; Rush County Treasurer Christie Bittel; Cheryl Schmale of the Kansas Small Business Development Center, Garden City; and Megan Horinek, Bird City. On a side note, I just missed (by five minutes) a good friend, Dr. Randy Schmidt of Kinsley at a Chiropractic Association meet and greet.

Dr. Edward Hammond of Fort Hays State University visited about wanting to establish an engineering program at FHSU. Debra Prideaux, director of FHSU's Alumni and Governmental Relations Office was along for the visit.

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On Friday, the House debated HB 2059, the "trailer bill" to the income tax bill that was signed into law last session. The bill would make several adjustments to income and severance tax provisions that were enacted during the 2012 session.

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Also Friday, Gov. Sam Brownback delivered Executive Reorganization Order No. 42 to the Legislature. This reorganization order moves the Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority into the Kansas Department of Corrections

Per this order, KDOC will have the ability to establish a deputy secretary of juvenile services, and the governor has said Acting JJA Commissioner Terri Williams will serve in that role.

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The stated goal of the administration in merging the two Kansas Department of Transportation and Kansas Turnpike Authority is to allow both agencies to be managed in a consistent way to allow for efficiencies in operations and sharing of resources across the state.

The bill being proposed by the administration would place the KDOT secretary as the CEO and chairman of the board of the KTA. From this position, the secretary would have control to manage all the transportation assets in the state.

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You can stay up-to-date with committee schedules and bills and find other helpful information regarding the happenings in the Statehouse through the Legislature's website, www.kslegislature.org.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions. I enjoy hearing from you on the topics we are discussing in Topeka, and I appreciate the perspective from those outside of the Statehouse.

I encourage you to let me know your thoughts on the issues discussed by the Legislature and others which might be affecting you. Feel free to call (785) 296-7105 or email johnewy@house.ks.gov, and I'd be happy to discuss any topic you are interested in. Thank you for the honor of serving you; and may God bless you and your family.

Rep. John Ewy, R-Jetmore, represents the 117th District in the Kansas House. john.ewy@house.ks.gov